Redevelopment plans for the old Dominion grocery store location finally moving ahead


The redevelopment of the old Dominion grocery store was back on the table at last week’s Planning Committee meeting.

Plans to redevelop the property at 19 Main Street East first surfaced in 2015, when the proponent sought relief from parking requirements in order to increase the building’s footprint. No further movement on the file had taken place until last week when Manager of Planning Services Kirstin Maxwell brought a new site plan forward.

She told committee that because the applicant no longer intends to increase the actual footprint of the building as originally proposed, it “improves upon the relief required for parking spaces.”

A second storey addition is still being proposed to the existing building, but balconies have now been added to the plan. The balconies will also form part of a covered walkway between Minerva and Main streets.  A sidewalk is also planned, which will also connect the area as envisioned by the Community Improvement Plan (CIP).

“Further, the CIP also identifies hardscape plazas and enhanced streetscapes as desirable design features for redevelopment. A patio is proposed at the Main Street East edge of the existing parking area, with a metal archway above the entrance to the parkette. Landscaping in the form of raised planters will also be provided. The second floor of the building will have access to a balcony above the covered walkway. The exit from the existing parking area will be removed, which will provide the opportunity for additional street parking. Façade improvements include stone veneer, timber beams and accents and a stucco exterior along Main Street East. The building renovation will also meet the design requirements of maintaining a minimum height of 4.5m for the first storey, and that it be 75% transparent (windows) when viewed from Main Street,” Maxwell notes.

Retail storefronts are being proposed along the length of the building; a restaurant and seating area is also planned as well as office space on the second floor. Maxwell said discussions about adding accessible parking at the rear of the building from which there will be internal access to all of the storefronts and second floor offices will take place with the applicant.

Committee was told that the height, setbacks and proposed lot coverage all comply with the existing zoning bylaw. Maxwell said approval for the plan could be simply granted by staff, but because of the prominence of the location she brought it forward for committee’s review.

“I’m really excited about this and hope they get off their butts and actually do it this time,” said Councillor Bob Stone, who had questions about snow removal and the impact of snow load on the proposed plantings. Maxwell said there are certain types of plants that can withstand snow and that she anticipates snow removal from the property will take place during winter months.

Maxwell also told committee that the applicants are in the process of providing the required documentation to the building department for a building permit.

Planning Committee approved the site plan application, conditional on Council’s approval and all final plans and drawings being to the satisfaction of municipal staff as well as all other commenting agencies.

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  1. Bob & Susan Vtech on

    It’s about time!
    I see what appears to be a seating /food area?
    Will this not take up badly needed parking spaces?
    It does look attractive.

  2. It will be amazing to have this major renovation on Main St. So good that the developers are making the required changes and it’s a go-ahead situation. I would like to see a more traditional Muskoka facade though, in keeping with the rest of the street from there east, and much of the development in the area.

  3. With regard to the facade.
    Please rethink the uninspiring facade and take a moment to view the existing historical street scape.Perhaps the partners should talk a walk down our Main Street and look upwards to compliment the best we have in our architecture.

  4. I agree that a more Muskoka look would be better but I am so happy that something great appears to be going forward. That site is such a blight on our downtown look.

  5. I agree, it is a wonderful addition to downtown Huntsville. Just wish it looked more like Muskoka and less like Toronto.

  6. If this goes through as depicted it will be a horrible embarrassment to town of Huntsville. It is a grotesque, post-modern, cheap, fake-nostalgic, soulless Lego of a building.

      • Approving a new development smack dab in the middle of Huntsville’s historic main street simply because it’s “better” than what’s already there is setting the bar pretty damn low, don’t you think? It shouldn’t just look “better” – it should look GREAT!

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